Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Sleeping Issues with Pre-teen

Question: My 12-year-old has a problem with going to sleep at night. And she has to wake up at 6:30 to catch the school bus by 7:15. She as always had this problem since she was a baby. - Penny

Answer: Lifetime habits are difficult to break. Your daughter is 12 years old. Aside from being an adolescent (this is hard enough)! It will be necessary for your daughter to accept certain responsibilities. An acceptable sleeptime is one of them. You as a parent can help by encouraging a routine at night. These routines include TV out, homework done, hygiene, etc.

Encouraging quiet time before bed is essential for good sleeping habits. This means limiting telephone and television just before going to bed. If there is a television or telephone in her room, give her the option of following your directions on their use. If not complied with, they may be removed. Make sure that excessive sodas, especially those that contain caffeine are not taken at night, if at all. Sufficient exercise during the day is also important.

As for waking up in the morning, an alarm clock is good for taking the responsibility of getting herself up. You may be encouraged to wake her up yourself, but allow her to control her own schedule. Accepting these responsibilities will help her deal with future adult responsibilities.

If it appears that reward and punishment are in order, be prepared to follow through with whatever it is that will be used. For example, if you (your daughter) do not accept this responsibility, you will loose "a privilege." This can be anything you or both of you decide on. I.e.: no telephone, TV, clothes, etc.

Positive reinforcement and encouragement will increase her self esteem. School performance will improve as will her motivation.

Also see:

  • What is the cause of ITP and is there anything that can prevent it from recurring?
  • Can a pediatrician comfortably prescribe and manage ADHD medication or is it better suited to a psychiatrist?
  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.